Since 2018, the Australian War Memorial has engaged in extensive consultation on our Development Project, running our own national program in addition to the consultations connected to three major approval processes.

We have reached more than half-a-million Australians in person, through our website and social media, surveys, community forums, focus groups, public notices and media coverage.

A total of 385 consultation activities have taken place, from meetings with community groups to nationwide surveys and a national roadshow to every state and territory. We have listened, and more than 50 changes have been made to the project.

One of the most important surveys took place in July 2020 when visitors to the memorial were provided information on the project and asked if they supported it.

More than 660 people answered this question. Remembering they had just visited existing galleries on Afghanistan and peacekeeping, 85 pe rcent of these visitors said ‘yes’ the memorial needs to do more to tell modern service stories and the plans we proposed were appropriate. Only 6 per cent were opposed.

The expansion of the memorial’s galleries to recognise recent conflicts and operations will allow us to tell the untold stories of our servicemen and servicewomen.

Through this once in a generation project, veterans who served and those still serving will soon be able to visit the memorial to share stories of their service and sacrifice with loved ones, and receive the recognition they so richly deserve.

Matt Anderson, director, Australian War Memorial.